Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Slow Poke - At Home (Palmetto, 1997, 2008)

Slow Poke was a very interesting collaborative project nominally led by saxophonist and composer Michael Blake of the Jazz Composer's Collective. Joining Blake on this project were David Tronzo on guitar, Tony Scherr on bass and guitar and Kenny Wollesen on drums and percussion. The music is enjoyable and consistently interesting, at times taking on an air or Bill Frisell's "Americana" projects, particularly on the slowly building and majestic version of Neil Young's "Harvest," which features Tronzo's guitar taking on pedal steel like features. Blake's own "Dry Socket" recounts the pain of wisdom tooth extraction with a slow and narcotic groove (must be the percocet.) Duke Ellington's "Rockin' in Rhythm" and the amusing original "Makeout Machine" kike the slow jams that predominate the record into a little bit higher gear. This project was recorded in one afternoon, off the cuff in a living room and that relaxed familiarity shows in music that is enjoyable an inventive while at the same time quite accessible.

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